THE number of amateur footballers who have registered for Samsung’s Win A Pro Contract competition with Leyton Orient has gone through the 2,500-barrier.
Win A Pro Contract is on course to land a record number of entries now that, for the first time, two clubs are offering the successful players the chance to live the dream of life as a professional footballer.
There are 360 trial places available to the most gifted unsigned players in the country but only two will go on to sign a professional contract – one with Orient, and the other with Swindon Town.
Entries have been flying in from all corners of the UK, with east London proving to be a hotbed for young talented footballers.
Among the local entrants so far are Shane Stamp from Forest Gate, who made it to the final of the competition in 2010, and David Shovlin from Wanstead, who has represented the Republic of Ireland at under-18 level.
Win A Pro Contract hopefuls will be tested at regional trials and matches as they bid to realise their dreams of becoming a professional footballer.
Last year’s winner, Chris Smith, signed for Swindon in February and made his first team debut against Bradford in May.
And O’s boss Russell Slade is confident of finding the right player for his squad in this year’s competition.
Slade said: “The response to the Samsung Win A Pro Contract competition has been fantastic so far.
“The chance to sign for Leyton Orient is a truly remarkable prize. I’m not surprised there’s been so much interest from amateur players.
“Becoming a professional footballer is a demanding process and this competition will be exactly that.
“Anyone who makes it through to the first stage of trials will need to give it their all, both physically and mentally.
“I’m sure plenty of talented players have already applied but I urge anyone who thinks they’ve got what it takes to enter now.”
The registration period for this year’s competition is open until August 31. To enter, visit: www.facebook.com/samsungfootball